Notre Dame football fans are already plenty excited about the return of offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock. But even those celebrating the new hire might not realize just what they are getting and how much it will help 2024 QB1, Riley Leonard.
There's a reason that Mike Denbrock got a record setting contract with the Notre Dame football program. Simply put, quarterbacks, especially dual-threat quarterbacks thrive in his offenses.
One need look no further than Denbrock's last spin in South Bend to see what he can help his quarterbacks do, even if he's not their position coach. But it's been more than Notre Dame football stars that have benefitted from his tutelage.
Everett Golson, Notre Dame football
In 2012, Everett Golson threw for 2,400 yards, 12 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. He also ran for just under 300 yards. In 2014, his first and only season with Denbrock, he threw for 3,445 yards, 29 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He also once again had just under 300 yards on the ground but two more touchdowns.
Hayden Moore, Cincinnati Bearcats
Like Golson, Moore played just one season under Denrock but saw his passing attempts and every other passing stat improve. In 2016, he had just 1,744 yards, 11 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. In 2017, his last year as a starter under Denrock, he had 2,562 yards passing, 20 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. Moore also unlocked his dual-threat potential as he ran for just over 300 yards, after running for just 45 the year before.
Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati Bearcats
Desmond Ridder benefitted from four seasons under Denrock and finished his Cincinnati career with 10,239 yards passing, 87 touchdowns to 28 interceptions. He also had 2,190 yards on the ground and 28 rushing touchdowns.
Jayden Daniels, LSU Tigers
It's safe to say that Daniels' was the best quarterback of the bunch talent wise that Denbrock worked with. That doesn't mean that the offensive coordinator didn't give the 2023 Heisman winnner a boost with an offensive gameplan that helped him put up insane numbers.
In the two seasons that the two worked together, Daniels finished with 6,725 yards, and 57 touchdowns to just 7 interceptions. He also ran for 2,019 yards and 21 TDs. Both of his seasons with LSU were quite a bit better than any campaign he managed at Arizona State.
Riley Leonard, Notre Dame football
No, the Duke Blue Devils transfer hasn't played for Denbrock yet, but when you look at what the offensive coordinator has done with other quarterbackers over his career, it's hard not to get excited. It's not fair to expect the same kind of season from Leonard that we saw from Daniels this year, but it's also not entirely out of the question. Especially with the weapons the Notre Dame football team has put around him.